Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sacculae et librae; germanicus et latinus et cetera

I've been re-reading everything that I own by Mary Carruthers recently. She gave one of the plenary sessions at Kalamazoo this year, and her paper was (as always) amazing. I'm back waist-deep in The Book of Memory and planning to work my way through The Craft of Thought soon. Reading these always provides me with a number of thoughts, some of them D&D related. While they are extremely difficult reads (you can contest me on this and I won't argue—maybe they're only difficult for me) but these books more than any other have helped me understand and attempt to enter into the medieval mindset. Her analysis of how the classical and medieval world viewed memory and the very faculties of the mind helps to erect that alien wall that separates us from the past. As they say, the past is a foreign country...

Insofar as Cults and Temples, I'm still moving forward apace with it, though a lot of my time has been devoted to improving my Latin, beginning to comprehend German, and studying for the GREs (and if anyone knows of any really good Latin resources, I could certainly use them). That means that, yes, my work on the Cults book has been a lot slower than normal. I still have very little art for the boxed set, which means it is increasingly looking like it won't be done before the end of the year, but such is life, particularly when your artists are unpaid and working solely in their free time. Cryo, Tallstaff, this is not an admonition... (but it totally is)

Another little blurb of information--here are four things to use in your games.

Sacculae -- "coin sacks," are classical/medieval bags or chests. It's not VERY clear what they looked liked structurally, but they apparently have spaces for different coins, perhaps small books, and certainly wax tablets. These are either shelves or compartments.

Armarius (armarii) -- These are architectural features—inset arched niches with heavy shelves that make up part of a wall and are used to store codex manuscripts. Wizards probably have a lot of these, and they are way more common than free-standing bookshelves (though free-standing scroll cases are to be found in many libraries).

Arca -- Chests. Arcae are also known as "strongboxes" or even "arks." They're usually flat-topped and often banded with iron. Yeah, you can just call 'em chests with flat tops, but why not call 'em arcae instead? Yeah, you love that latin, you filthy bitch.

Wax tablets -- the most common writing surface in a world where books are made out of expensive dead animals. Everyone who's anyone that needs to frequently erase should be writing on wax tablets. Everything from keeping house accounts to the party inventory! They're usually kept inside wooden trays, so you can make a little book of them.

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